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March 31, 2003


I made it to Hawaii! And, already, my stint on the Big Island is almost over.

Let's start with my journey out of New Zealand.

Rich left on Friday. Goodbye, travel buddy of a month. Mellow night, to bed early. Saturday, I woke up early to work. Work?? Yes, I worked to write up an abstract about our work on Erebus for a meeting in Potsdam, Germany in September. Didn't we get off the volcano just yesterday? And already they want us to report our results? A scientist's work is never done. (I know, I know, I've been on vacation...)

I sent the abstract off by noon, which was my goal. I include this for those of you who are familiar with how I am with deadlines--particularly self-imposed ones. Really, it was off by noon for a co-author's revision.

Then, as luck would have it, I ran into some ice people. It was grand. There was a wave of us coming back into Christchurch, and I was able to spend my last night dining with a great group of people who were coming from and going different directions. It's a good thing I found them, to, because with my work done, what else would I have been able to do? I had even finished packing.

And, I got a few hours of sleep before my alarm went off. 3 AM, for a 3:15 shuttle pick-up, for a 5:50 AM flight. What a horrible time. I slept some on the way to Sydney, and then fell in love. With Australia. We arrived on a beautiful Sunday morning, and I was positively itching to get outside. I mean, it was Australia! Crocodiles and kangaroos and koala bears, men in kakhi like Crocodile Dundee and Steve! The outback, the desert, didgeree-doos, aboriginal art, and Priscilla! And me with two hours in the Sydney airport. I was crushed.

Sydney-->Honolulu. Uneventful. I wasn't really able to sleep, which I expected would be a problem, as I had already booked a spot on a tour to see the lava on Kilauea the next day. 11:05 PM arrival. Let me run that by you again. Depart Christchurch 5:50 AM, arrive Honolulu 11:30 PM. Those times SUCK! And, I wanted to get straight to the Big Island, so I had booked myself a flight out at 7:40 AM. 8 hours in the Honolulu airport. I found a group of seats where a few other folks appeared to be settling in for the night, and set myself up. I pulled my cart of stuff in close, set my alarm clock up on the shelf, deposited my glasses next to my alarm clock, put in earplugs, placed my backpack on the seat next to me as an oversized pillow/backrest, and attempted to snooze. I did doze, until about 5 AM. At 5, I relocated to the domestic terminal and dozed some more.

Upon arrival in Hilo, I called the hostel for a ride. I was fetched by a Kiwi. How fitting. He took me back to the hostel, where I proceeded to try to get out of the tour (sorry, 48-hr advance cancellation only) and then tried to sleep for about an hour. I got up, showered, ate some instant soup, packed up my daypack, and met for the tour at 1 in hopes that the lava would wake me up.

Why tour? Don't volcanologists have the 'in'? Well, why not--can you really see too much lava? Besides, I figured it'd be interesting to get the tour guide's interpretation, and maybe meet some friends to hang out with at the hostal.

The trip was a success. Lava was sighted. It was sighted, watched, mulled over, and filmed. Lava. Red hot. I took a bunch of digital pictures and even a short film for the internet readers, but don't have a way right now of getting them from my laptop to this computer, so they'll have to wait. Lava. It was cool. No, it was hot.

We got back to the hostal around nine. And I ended up involved in a political discussion with two Canadians, 3 other Americans, one German, one Kiwi, and one Swiss until almost 1 AM. So much for being tired.

Monday, I was off to the observatory. Well, not quite like that--my ride didn't come until the afternoon, so I spent the morning chatting (not politics) with my new-found friends and relaxed. Then, up to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Which is where I am now.

Posted by beth at March 31, 2003 3:14 PM


wouldn't the simultaneous use of an alarm clock and ear plugs baffle your freshman year college roommate?

Posted by: wilma, mother of beth at April 10, 2003 5:35 AM

Hi! I am a fith grade student who is doing a reasearch project on Hawaii do you think you can send me some information about Hawaii? Please get back to me! thank-you so much!


Posted by: Esther at April 12, 2005 2:51 AM